Valve Corporation became the center of esports conversation late Tuesday afternoon when it announced the ban for players found to be fixing competitive CounterStrike: Global Offensive matches last year would be permanent.
Sure, if Valve expected this to be a permanent ban from the start, it would have been wise to say so at the onset of the ban. (And, as The Daily Dot’s Jared Wynne pointed out to me, any debate about length of the ban shouldn’t have lasted a year).
But come on. They fixed the outcome of matches. There’s no other way this was going to end.
Comparisons between esports and traditional sports aren’t always equal (or warranted), but there’s almost 100 years of precedent for match fixing. Members of Major League Baseball’s 1919 Chicago White Sox were banned for life after allegations of fixing the World Series. Some of the players were kicked out without proof of their involvement!
Pete Rose was banned from baseball for simply betting on the game. Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy was banned for life (and jailed) for fixing outcomes of games he officiated.
Soccer operates differently, but FIFA is also the subject of a widespread corruption case. So is that really the model we want to follow here?
There’s a bottom line among all sports: The integrity of the game must be upheld at all times. And in an industry like esports, which is still in its infancy, that sentiment probably carried even more weight in the final decision.
That’s why, no matter how you feel about iBUYPOWER’s ban, this was always going to be the result.
Of all the aspects of this saga, that’s the least surprising.
Cover photo by James Cao (flickr)